HMAR INPUI GHQ (HMAR SUPREME HOUSE)

PRESS STATEMENT
Imphal
25th October 2016


The Hmar Inpui (Hmar Supreme House), an apex body of all Hmar Civil Society and Community Based Organisations has been observing the current Scheduled Tribe (ST) Reservation issue in Manipur University hoping against hope that the University authority in collaboration with the Government will bring an amicable end to the impasse by following the Central Government and University Grants Commission directives to implement the CEI (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Act 2012. This hope has however been dashed by recent events, the latest being the violent suppression of agitating tribal students in front of the Manipur University (MU) gate on 24th October 2016 and the actions of the Vice-Chancellor (VC) in-charge.

The apathetic attitude of the University authorities and the derisive declaration of the MU VC in-charge Professor Amar Yumnam that the reservation norms chosen by the Academic Council meeting on October 8 would be followed in Manipur University for the academic session 2016-17 which is in direct contravention to the Central Government directive has made an already fragile situation worse. As if this was not enough, the order of the VC in-charge to go ahead with admission process for Academic Session 2016-17 from 24th of October without any resolution in the reservation impasse have no other interpretation other than being scornful to the legitimate demand of the tribal students.

The Hmar Inpui condemns in the strongest terms the attitude of not only the University authority but the behaviour of some of the state forces to insidiously instigate and coaxed the otherwise peaceful but emotionally charged agitators to committing certain ‘mistakes’ so as to warrant a violent suppression. It is most unfortunate that the State Police, meant to keep the peace, are now skilful emotional manipulators just so they can exhibit their marksmanship and using agitators to hone their shooting skills! Arbitrary and unwarranted subjugation of a democratic voice in exercise of a democratic rights has now become a trademark of the State Government and unfortunately copied by the unlikeliest institution- A Central University which is supposed to be a centre of positive learning and the centre-point for imbibing democratic and responsible governance.

The Hmar Inpui strongly question why the state government and Manipur University authorities are so hell-bent in avoiding amicable negotiations and dialogues with agitators- past and present but at the same time so keen in the deaths of peaceful dialogues and negotiations.

There have been numerous debates on why the hills and valleys should not be separated or vice-versa. There have been countless seminars, consultations, conferences, workshops, et al discussing why Manipur is afflicted with inter-ethnic trust deficits. Why should there not be an acute trust deficit? Why should the tribal students of Manipur not be apprehensive about the intent and intention of the Manipur University authorities when they are deprived of even our legally sanctioned basic rights to free and fair education? When even such basic rights are blatantly hijacked, then it is no wonder that the state is inundated with tensions, mistrusts, fights, highly controversial Bills and Acts that infringe upon the rights of the tribal people both covertly and overtly. When justice cannot be served to just a few, justice served to the whole is just another harsh belie.

When certain radical sections of the University, probably influenced by some clandestine agendas, dares to dare the directive of the Central Government or the legal rights of a certain section of the people with impunity, it is no wonder the State is in this self-created predicament. For the shallow, short-sighted and selfish actions of a few individuals, it appears Manipur and its beautiful peoples are doomed to live a life of strife, distrust and painful separations.

The Hmar Inpui has seen through the devious plans and intentions of the University authorities with perhaps the tacit support of some communal groups and individuals. As such, we fully support the current movement spearheaded by the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) and its constituent members. For the sake of all, the Hmar Inpui also appeals to all that this movement and its support for it are never with a communal intent but rather for stronger distributive justice, equality and democratic principles. We also appeal to the Manipur University authorities to come to their senses and take positive steps urgently to avoid any further unfortunate incidences. Let them remember that their stubborn short-sighted and selfish actions have done enough harm and will likely do more irreparable harm to the tribes per se and to the people of Manipur in general.


Sd/-
(LRS PURUOLTE)

Joint Secretary (Information & Media),
Hmar Inpui GHQ (Hmar Supreme House)

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